Celebrating the life of student Nolan Weber
After dying in December, Nolan Weber's celebration of life will be held in his hometown at Jackson High School.
Weber enjoyed playing sports while growing up. Baseball and soccer were two of his favorites. When Weber lost the use of his left arm, he found an interest in table tennis and taught himself how to play.
Weber was supported by family and friends throughout his battle with cancer for almost three years, which was double the life expectancy initially given to him.
Weber graduated from Jackson High School in 2013 and started taking classes at Southeast Missouri State University that fall with an undecided major, but he had an interest in physical therapy and other health-related fields.
Weber was diagnosed with malignant glioblastoma multiforme, or GBM, in April of 2011 after having a brain tumor removed a week before.
His mother, Rachelle Weber, describes her son's journey in 2012 as a good year because his cancer remained stable. He started a new drug that shared his name, Nolan, coincidentally. However, after Christmas of that year, a new tumor surfaced.
It was on December 21 when Weber died.
Cindy Lawson is a mathematics teacher at Jackson High School and taught Weber for two years.
"Nolan was always positive and ready to work," Lawson said. "I can truly say that every day I spent with him was unbelievable. His attitude, drive, personality and love for God made my job easy."
Weber's celebration of live will be held on his birthday.
Rachelle Weber said that one of the biggest reasons why she chose to have the celebration on his birthday is because before Weber died, his father, Dean Weber, promised Weber that there would be a big party and that the whole community that supported him would be invited.
"Promise made, promise kept," Rachelle Weber said. "Nolan always liked to celebrate his birthday. We have a large basement where he and his friends liked to hang out and that's kind of what he liked to do on his birthdays."
Lawson said that the community continuously rallied for Weber and always inspired everyone that was ever around him.
"He never complained, whined or felt sorry for himself. He always had a smile on his face," Lawson said.
A new foundation has been established called Believing Beyond. Rachelle Weber said that a first fundraiser was held at the beginning of April when the Jackson High School baseball team had a tailgate and the proceeds went directly towards the foundation.
Rachelle Weber said that her son wanted to make sure that his foundation helped the Jackson sports programs and possibly provided scholarship opportunities in the future.
"He inspired an entire community to believe in so many different things," Rachelle Weber said. "The biggest thing about Nolan is that he did not allow cancer to define who he was."
The Jackson High School Events Center will be holding the ceremony for Weber.
"The high school was a big part of our family during this journey," Rachelle Weber said. "The atmosphere there is something you can't replicate anywhere else. The size is great. We wanted it to be very opened and casual."
Those interested in attending the ceremony can expect a "message of hope" and live music.
"When you go to the hospital and have an MRI every two months, you never know what exactly you are going to hear, but the whole concept was, 'We're not going to believe what our eyes tell us or what our ears tell us,'" Rachelle Weber said. "'We are going to believe in our hearts.'"
The public is welcome to attend the ceremony.
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with the ceremony starting at 6:30 p.m. on April 30 at the Jackson High School Events Center.
"Hopefully through continued work, his spirit and his foundation, we can inspire people to be a little more like him every day," Rachelle Weber said.